The Bombay High Court recently granted relief to a man declared unfit for the post of constable/driver in the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) as he had a tattoo.
The bench of Justice RM Borde and Justice RG Ketkar directed the CISF to consider the applicant’s claim for employment as he had been found fit otherwise. It was only during the medical examination that the examiner found the tattoo and declared the applicant as unfit.
Vijay Gharat appeared on behalf of the petitioner, while Rui Rodrigues represented the respondents.
It was contended by Gharat that the tattoo that has been carved out on his forearm is a matter of religious practice and he cannot be compelled to remove the religious symbol carved out on the body. It was further contended that in Armed Forces, certain exceptions are made in respect of tattoos that depict religious symbol or figures and the name and similar exceptions deserve to be made by the employers (CISF).
The Indian Army as well as CISF are disciplined forces and the parameters, which are applied by the Indian Army, can very well be made applicable by CISF, the petition stated.
It was also submitted that the petitioner has already made efforts to completely remove the said tattoo and the same has already been removed upto 90%.
As far as the post of Sub-Inspector in CISF is concerned, there are certain exceptions made in the rules. Petitioner’s counsel pointed out the guidelines issued by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs for recruitment to the said post, which are:
(a) Content: Being a secular country, the religious sentiments of our countrymen are to be respected and thus, tattoos depicting religious symbol or figures and the name, as followed in Indian Army are to be permitted.
(b) Location: Tattoos marked on traditional sites of the body like inner aspect of forearm but only left forearm, being non-saluting limb or dorsum of the hands are to be allowed.
(c) Size: Size must be less than ¼ of the particular part (elbow or hand) of the body.
“So far as the post for which the petitioner tendered application completely debars a candidate and holds him medically unfit if any tattoo mark is found on his body, merely because the post claimed by the petitioner is subordinate to the post of Sub-Inspector, different parameters in respect of medical fitness cannot be applied. The religious sentiments of a citizen shall have to be given a due weightage and specially while making recruitment to a higher post such exceptions are made, there was no reason for the employer to apply the same parameters and hold the petitioner ineligible. Apart from this, there is no dispute that the tattoo in question has been removed to the extent of 90%.”
Thus, the writ petition was allowed and the CISF was directed to consider the petitioner’s claim for employment. The court had previously granted relief in a similar case, but that was for the post of Sub-Inspector.